Working together

Archie and Griff working together on the "Tree of Life" at the Dirrum Festival 2022 (photo credit: Alan Lee)
Archie and Griff working together on the "Tree of Life" at the Dirrum Festival 2022 (photo credit: Alan Lee)
Andy Fleming

By Andy Fleming, Associate Chaplain

You may be aware that I coach rugby and have done so for many years. I find it thoroughly rewarding when players have listened to my instructions and implemented these in the game. It might be performing a particular skill or succeeding in employing a certain strategy – whatever it is, it is probably the one thing above all others that keeps me in coaching. I also find these experiences humbling. In these moments I am a part of something bigger than myself: one member of a team simply playing their role just as the other members are.

Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to have success as a coach without prior instructions myself. I had mentors and coaching role models who assisted me to hone my coaching skills.

Another integral part of this coaching experience is that I always have another coach alongside me. Whether I’m assisting them, or they are assisting me, we are a double-act who need to support and keep each other accountable to provide the best-possible opportunities for the players in the team.

In Luke 10.1-24, Jesus sends out 70 of his followers in pairs to share the gospel. He provides the pair with a simple set of instructions to follow, to ensure the best-possible opportunity to relay his message to would-be listeners. Carrying out Jesus Christ’s mission involves his followers supporting each other, keeping each other accountable.

Jesus’ instructions would make anyone feel uncomfortable – the 70 are to empty themselves. Verse 4 details they are not to take anything with them: no money, no possessions, not even sandals. Just the clothes they are wearing. They are really required to humble themselves, and by doing so, they are only carrying the message of good news about Jesus.

The 70 entered “others’ turf”. To use another sporting analogy, they are “playing away from home”. Coming with nothing to each town and house required that the 70 receive hospitality. In the first century, hospitality was a big part of Palestinian culture. It was expected that you would open your home to visitors to your town and provide them their needs. These followers have only each other to rely on in this sense. But Jesus has given them his authority to share his news. This empowerment provided the 70 with the confidence they required to go into the unknown and uncomfortable places.

Just as Jesus sent out the 70 in pairs, so we, too, should support each other as we work for the betterment of others. Fortunately, we are not meant to do our work alone, but rather to support one another in the purpose God has for us. I wonder who goes with you, literally and figuratively, for mutual accountability and encouragement?

Peace be with you in the week ahead
Chaplain Andy